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Never Got Mentally Down When People Made Fun Of My Weight: Olympic Champion Neeraj Chopra

The world and Olympic javelin champion, Neeraj Chopra, spoke about diet and improved sports science facilities in Indian sports.

Updated: February 10, 2024 7:12 PM IST

By India.com Sports Desk

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Neeraj Chopra has become an inspiration for all the budding youngsters in India.

New Delhi: Neeraj Chopra, the man behind the javelin revolution in India, is known for his humbleness despite achieving an athletics icon. From being a chubby youngster, Neeraj’s journey to the Tokyo Olympics gold and then to the top of the world wasn’t meant to be as he was obese back in the day and nobody believed in him making a mark in sports.

However, the Haryana lad kept the belief in himself and 2011 was the starting of a new journey in life. Not only the World Championship gold, the 23-year-old also won the Diamond League and Asian Games gold. The Golden Boy spoke about his life journey and also shed a light on career transformation.

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“Everything changed when I went to the stadium in 2011 and took up javelin,” Chopra said in ‘Fit India Champions’ podcast series, a flagship programme of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. “That’s when my journey started and in 2021, I bagged the gold in Tokyo.

“I had excess flab when I was young and people kept telling me I cannot get into sport because of being obese and overweight. Listening to all these however never made me feel mentally down. I wanted to turnaround my physique and rectify it.

“I’m happy to have given my 100 percent. The medal was an added bonus but all I wanted was to be happy with my performance,” Chopra added. A complete believer in desi Indian diet, Chopra stressed on the need for fitness.

“The Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi ji has given the clarion call of ‘Fitness ki dose, aadha ghanta roz’ (minimum 30 minutes of fitness activity daily), but you can go beyond the training time of 30 minutes a day.

“You can go for outdoor exercises and even work out at home on a mat. It doesn’t’ necessarily have to be a gym,” he added. Gunning to defend his yellow metal at the upcoming Paris Olympics, Chopra said that India is performing very well in a lot of sports and praised the upgradation of sports science facilities in various centres.

“Every sport is growing leaps and bounds in the country from chess to archery to shooting and athletics. I’m also particularly impressed by (long jumper) Sreeshankar Murali and (steeplechaser) Avinash Sable. India is doing well across all sports,” Chopra mentioned.

“Sports science facilities too are also increasing. There are new technologies installed at the SAI Centre in Patiala where I train, right from cutting edge fitness checking machines to recovery equipment and state of the art javelin throw machine. With so much advancements being made, we are very well placed to challenge European athletes,” he added.

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